Tree careBest Practices When Trees are Dormant

While the holidays promote thankfulness and merriment, bad weather conditions that accompany the festive season are far from welcoming for your trees as they bear the brunt of winter. During the fall, trees start adjusting to temperature changes, with their metabolism slowing down and reduced transpiration signaling their dormancy. The lack of warmth and light during the autumn and winter months in St. Louis cause trees to reduce levels of respiration and growth.

Additionally, the cold restricts how much nutrients and water trees can absorb. Though colder months put your tree in harm’s way, you can protect and preserve it. Here are a few methods sure to help keep your tree healthy until it warms up.

Prune Them

Pruning your trees encourages natural, stronger growth heading into warmer months. Make sure to prune any overlapping branches that could be more exposed to snow, rain or ice during fall and winter. Also clip off any dead or diseased branches, as well as any twigs, barks or sprouts that have grown along the tree’s base. Additionally, branches or foliage in direct contact with soil should be clipped as they invite insects to wreak havoc on your tree structure and leaves. Pruning keeps your tree looking clean and gives it a better chance of staying steady against every element bad weather will throw at it.

Water and Fertilize Often

Winter typically brings cold weather for a few months on end. But there may be a few days here and there when the temperature feels more mild and comfortable. During those unusually warm spells in the fall or winter, especially as there’s little precipitation, water the trees as often as possible. It’s easier to water them excessively during colder times compared to summertime given how much more replenishing they will need.

Furthermore, make sure to fertilize your trees using a balanced fertilizer if the soil is missing key elements. Apply your fertilizer by top dressing over the mulch while ensuring you are using as little nitrogen as possible. This way, excessive growth doesn’t take place during these warm periods. Such growth can become troublesome and leave you with a bigger cleaning job when winter is over.


Mulching is a very effective way to protect trees, particularly young trees, against fluctuating temperatures throughout the season.

Use a small bit of composted organic mulch to cover the soil as deep as possible. This helps your tree recycle nutrients daily, ensuring feeder roots receive those nutrients fluidly.

Aerate the Roots

Aerating tree roots, also called vertical mulching, helps prevent soil surrounding your tree from being too compacted and water-logged. Soil compaction can reduce how much water and oxygen your tree gets as pore space within the soil, where these essentials go, becomes clogged. Aeration helps smoothen soil compaction within critical tree root zones, so water and oxygen can flow into those zones uninterrupted.

Want to Save Money on Winter Tree Care?

When it freezes in St Louis – It just might be the best time to schedule your tree care! Ask for a quote from Jackson Tree Service as part of our Winter Discount Program today and get 5-10% discount off our already competitive pricing.